Every three months, we visit the office of our endocrinologist. While we are there they monitor Rocco's growth, his blood pressure and his A1C. An A1C is a test that tells you the average of your blood sugar numbers over the past three months.
If you care for a child with Type 1 diabetes, you hate this test. Usually... Sometimes, you love this test. Either way it turns into a report card on how well you are caring for your child. None of us parents want to think about it that way and we constantly try not to think of it that way, but we do. We can't help ourselves. It is a terrible feeling when the number is bad and an incredible feeling when the number is good.
Diabetes is hard, it doesn't play fair. Blood sugar numbers are the judge and the jury. They change because your child runs, eats, watches tv, grows, gets nervous, gets really happy, exercises, or doesn't exercise. These are just a couple of examples. There are more. It is unpredictable to say the least. The only predictable thing about it is: it is always changing.
So, to chase an ever changing, uncontrollable number every day can be frustrating. All I, and other parents, want is to get a good A1C. We wish for it. We try for it. We pray for it. We stay up nights for it. We go into schools for it. We sit in gyms for it. We sit in birthday parties for it. We helicopter over our kids for it.
So, on the big day of the appointment, it is scary. I always feel like it is my review. Since my job is to be my son's pancreas, that test becomes my performance review. My report card, of sorts.
Some of the reports have been bad and some have been great. Today, was a good (enough) one. Here is how it went.
Rocco wanted to fill in the registration sheet by himself for the first time. My little boy is growing up!
I mean really growing up.
Rocco LOVES to see how things work! Here he likes to watch the blood pressure machine. Plus, he likes the squeeze feeling of the cuff.
This is me. Unshowered and nervous. I normally would keep pictures of myself looking like this out but in efforts to keep it real, I wanted to show you the look on my face. People that know me well know that this is my "I'm pretending to entertain my son by letting him take my picture while I'm dying inside waiting for the doctor to come back and give me my review" face. It's not pretty but it's true... Lol!
One more picture of a happy, healthy boy on the way out. I asked him if he wanted a sticker. For the first time, he said, "Nah." More dying inside... More growing up... Sigh...
After these appointments, Rocco and I have a tradition. No matter what the number is, we celebrate with carbs! Good, gooey carbs! Carbs that we normally don't eat! Last appointment, we had pancakes! With real syrup!
We both work very hard for three months trying for the magic number so giving ourselves a treat to celebrate our efforts, is fun! I also feel that when he gets older, I don't want to blame himself if the number is not good. I want to train him to look forward to going to these appointments. As an adult, taking care of himself is going to be hard enough. Why not make a possible, terrible appointment a positive thing? Even if he knows the number isn't going to be good, I still want him to want to go to his appointment. Diabetes burnout is a real thing. I know Rocco will get it. I know there will be moments when he won't care for himself well. As anybody who has ever joined Weight Watchers, making it to a weigh in meeting after spending a week cheating is never easy. The endo appointment is kind of the same thing.
So, if allowing himself to "cheat with a treat" after his appointment will help him get in the car and drive to his three month appointment, so be it. Plus, like Weight Watchers, after the weigh in and the A1C test, the hour following the appointment is free! Calories and high blood sugars don't stick! Plenty of time before the next check! Ha!
We started off with Panera soup. Broccoli cheese is low in carbs.
Then, we get to the good stuff! We both raised our eyebrows in surprise when we found out our mutual cheat treats were 62 carbs each! Hehe! We both giggled because it felt good to be bad!
Then, we played our favorite game: "Where do they work?" We like to look at people in the restaurant and guess their jobs! Rocco comes up with some doosies! This day's selections were shoe salesman, an Olympian, pet store owner, and typewriter girl. Ha!
Who knows? Maybe these treats and fun times are more for me than for my boy. Haha! Either way, we both look forward to them now.
On the way home, I asked Rocco a question I have never dared asked him.
"Rocco, do you feel unlucky or lucky that you have diabetes." I asked.
"Lucky!" he answered excitedly.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because I get to get out of school and be alone with you mom!"